RxPATROL

Cmdr John Burke
Published Online: Friday, August 1, 2003
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This past June a brand new program was announced at a National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) meeting in Annapolis, Md. RxPATROL?the invention of Aaron Graham, vice president of loss prevention for Purdue Pharma?was unveiled.

As vice president of NADDI, I had the pleasure of attending 1 of the last planning sessions for the program in Rhode Island. It was encouraging to see representatives of most of the major pharmacy chains in the United States at the meeting and in full support of RxPATROL.

Purdue Pharma has made an unprecedented effort toward identifying and reducing drug diversion since the abuse of its drug OxyContin, by funding a variety of very useful programs. RxPATROL is yet another Pur-due Pharma?funded opportunity for law enforcement, regulatory agencies, health professionals, industry, and the general public to work together in attempting to combat crime re-lated to pharmaceutical diversion.

In addition to NADDI, the program is cosponsored by the National Association of State Controlled Substances Authorities, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and the Pharmacy Security Institute.

RxPATROL provides a database for serious crimes that occur inside pharmacies. Although the program is flexible so that it can include additional offenses later, identifying trends in robberies and burglaries in pharmacies is the initial goal of this program.

A robbery is defined as a confrontation between a subject or subjects and pharmacy personnel. Subjects usually are armed with a weapon, or indicate that they have a weapon, and want drugs and/or cash for their efforts. A burglary usually occurs at night and involves the actual forced entry into the pharmacy when no employees are present, with the distinct goal of removing various items of value, including prescription drugs.

Criminals have no respect for jurisdictional boundaries when committing their crimes. In our area of the country, pharmacy burglars commonly travel hundreds of miles to break into a selected store and leave with prescription drugs. Once the crime has been committed, they may then travel to another part of the country to a waiting entrepreneur who lives in an area where pharmaceutical drugs bring a premium on the street.

Therefore, the burglars may live in 1 jurisdiction, the crime may be committed in another, and the drugs actually may be sold in yet a third area of the country. At least 3 law enforcement agencies are likely to be involved in this scenario, but none of them knows about the others, and they have had few avenues of communicating effectively with each other.

RxPATROL is designed to have an impact on these types of offenses that occur in pharmacies across the nation. A senior law enforcement executive is directing this program, and innovative software is being used to collate information and disseminate it to law enforcement personnel.

RxPATROL will be able to collect pharmacy robbery or burglary trends, suspect descriptions, methods of operation, and other information about a crime that may be similar to others in the United States. As these matches occur, the law enforcement agencies involved will be notified and will have the opportunity to network, and ultimately to arrest the culprits.

Law enforcement personnel and the pharmacy community must cooperate in reporting these crimes to RxPA-TROL in order for this program to work at peak efficiency. If you have a robbery, burglary, or other major theft crime in your pharmacy, first of all make sure that you report it immediately to local law enforcement.

After that, please make sure that the offense is reported to RxPATROL by going to the Web site at www. rxpatrol.org and filling out the simple report form. The information you provide will then be put into a central database that can be accessed by law enforcement and can be compared with information on other related offenses across the country. If the perpetrators were arrested, make sure that you still report the crime to RxPATROL. The same individuals may be responsible for a number of pharmacy crimes, and law enforcement may be able to bring additional charges and successfully close cases. Do not hesitate to remind law enforcement personnel about this program.

Do not assume, however, that they will follow through with RxPATROL, but rather report the crime yourself. We would much rather have both you and law enforcement report the crime than have it not be reported at all.

NADDI has plans under way to distribute RxPATROL stickers for your pharmacy. These stickers will not only warn potential offenders that you participate in this valuable program, but will also serve as a way of promoting the project so that it is used to its fullest potential.



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